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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

NIAAA Director Receives French Legion of Honor

Dr. Koob speaks at French Embassy.

Dr. George Koob delivers remarks after receiving French Legion of Honor award from French Ambassador Gerard Araud (r).

Photo: Bill Branson

In a June 30 ceremony at the Washington, D.C., residence of French Ambassador Gerard Araud, NIAAA director Dr. George Koob became a knight of the French Legion of Honor in recognition of his leadership in developing scientific collaborations between France and the United States.

“I am extremely grateful for, and humbled by, this recognition,” said Koob, who has served as NIAAA director since January 2014. “My collaborations and interactions with scientists in France have been deeply gratifying, both personally and professionally, and I look forward to ongoing scientific camaraderie between our countries in the years ahead.”

The Legion of Honor, France’s premier award, was founded by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 to recognize eminent accomplishments of service to France.

Among previous American recipients of the award are hundreds of veterans of World War II, former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, former NIH director Dr. Elias Zerhouni and many leaders in academia, politics and the arts. Ambassador Araud presented the award to Koob on behalf of French President François Hollande.

Koob is recognized as one of the founders of the field of addiction research and is internationally renowned for his expertise on alcohol and stress and the neurobiology of alcohol and drug addiction.

The author of hundreds of articles published in international journals, Koob has had a long collaborative relationship with Dr. Michel Le Moal, professor emeritus of neuroscience at the University of Bordeaux, France, and a fellow of the French National Academy of Sciences.

With Le Moal, Koob co-authored Neurobiology of Addiction in 2006 and Drugs, Addiction and the Brain in 2014, both of which are regarded as major reference books in the field of addiction research.

Through his association with Le Moal and other eminent French scientists, Koob has been able to share his expertise and knowledge of the mechanisms underlying addiction and other psychiatric diseases and behavioral disorders with many French investigators.

Throughout his career, Koob has created strong links between French and American researchers and he has hosted and trained a large number of young scientists from France, including 13 postdoctoral fellows.—John Bowersox

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